Georgia tax-reform flop offers lessons for Washington

For a country with a spending problem, we sure are hearing a lot about taxes.

Tax reform features in the long-term budget-balancing plans of House Republicans and a couple of high-profile bipartisan commissions. (Even if President Barack Obama’s idea of tax “reform,” judging by his speech yesterday, is simply to raise taxes on “the rich.”)

If we’re going to get tax reform from Washington to go with spending cuts and changes to unsustainable entitlement programs, let’s hope the feds have been paying attention to the failed — for now — reform efforts in Georgia.

And the primary lesson from Georgia is that would-be reformers get off-track when they forget the principles that got them started in the first place.

Those principles are the same here as they are in the various plans coming from Washington: Broaden the base. Simplify the structure. Flatten and then lower the rates.

The idea is for more people to pay lower rates on more of their income. If that sounds murky as to whether taxes would go up or down, you’ve identified the first pitfall.

Many of the numerous deductions and credits are ways for lawmakers to reward narrow groups or activities. It’s political favoritism — a way to subsidize the purchase of things like hybrid automobiles.

Even when deductions cover far more people, as with mortgage interest or charitable donations, it would be better to eliminate or greatly reduce them and make up the difference with lower rates.

Problem is, people like to be subsidized for choices they want to make, even — or maybe especially — if they were going to make those choices anyway. When elected officials start talking about tax reform, deduction recipients often balk, as they did in Georgia.

The key is to lower the rate enough that complaints about “tax hikes” don’t stand up to scrutiny. But the more deductions and credits kept in the tax code, the less dramatically the tax rate can fall.

That was the second pitfall officials in Georgia encountered. By the time they maintained the most popular deductions and credits, they were left with a rate cut only half as big as the one initially envisioned. Compared to cutting rates to 3 percent (from 6 percent), going to only 4.6 percent hardly seemed worth the trouble.

Once Georgia’s lawmakers accounted for these pitfalls, they were left with a plan that had little support among the public or their colleagues in the Legislature. The result: Tax reform for the state is on ice for several months, at least.

But I still believe that, had reform proponents stuck more closely to those original, overriding principles and taken the time to explain them, as well as the results of the changes they wanted to make, they could have produced a plan that would have been both popular and economically sound.

Of course, Georgia lawmakers were committed to ensuring the total package was revenue neutral, if not an overall tax cut. In Washington, some reformers want to increase revenues to close the budget deficit or pay down debt.

The question is the same as always regarding taxes: What would we get for what we pay? I don’t think the public will go for higher taxes just to close the annual budget deficit — not when we’d nearly balanced the budget in 2007 at the current tax rates.

Paying down the long-term debt might be another matter. But there’s a trust gap: Even if Washington says extra revenues will go to reduce debt, many Americans will be skeptical, and rightly so.

If Washington can find a way to make it irreversibly certain that surpluses would go toward debt, we can talk. Until then, better to identify sound reform principles and stick to them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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54 comments Add your comment

jconservative

April 13th, 2011
7:50 pm

Amen, I guess.

Cutting some taxes by raising other taxes is really raising taxes. That is what the Georgia guys found out. The only way to cut taxes is to cut taxes. Any other way and someone gets screwed.

Republicans say over and over that the nation has a spending problem. But they want to talk about taxes.

OK! Cut spending. It ain’t real hard. You simply look at the numbers and cut.

Medicare – raise eligibility age to same as Social Security.

Defense – cut all pending weapon systems. 20 years from now you can start new weapon systems. If you then believe you need them.

Defense – let the world police itself. The US will police the US only.

Just saying.

Tyler Durden

April 13th, 2011
8:09 pm

Interesting that you’d call out hybrid vehicles tax breaks as the best example you could think of. They’re obviously a pathetically small fraction of a percent of the total loopholes available, yet you choose to hold them out as a shining example of the problem.

Hmmmmm, the tens of billions going to oil companies who, in turn, make dozens of billions in profits. And yet the best you can offer in your ‘lessons for Washington’ column is to demonize hybrid tax writeoffs, worth maybe a few million a year at best.

Wow. That’s a lesson FROM Washington, Kyle. And further proof of the faux journalist hackery that keeps it going.

Way to be part of the problem!! Wooten has truly found a successor :-)

Drifter

April 13th, 2011
8:19 pm

Don’t expect politicians to cut programs. I’m not even convinced the public wants to cut them. For every government program, there’s a dependent on that program who will be a sad story without it. I do think we should at least balance the budget. We owe that to our children and grandchildren. And if maybe we’re forced to pay our own way, we’ll be motivated to find some things we can do without.

Ed

April 13th, 2011
8:50 pm

“Broaden the base. Simplify the structure. Flatten and then lower the rates.”

“…The idea is for more people to pay lower rates on more of their income.”

Kyle, this is what cause Georgia’s last reform attempt to fail. In the end this strategy requires raising taxes on the lower to moderate income earners (why, so those at the top can get another tax break?). That would slow the recovery, in the short term, and it is forseeable that it would hurt families in the long run. Whatever little is left over, parents will spend on their children. Why would you want it to go to taxes, just to “broaden the base”.

Steve

April 13th, 2011
9:11 pm

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if we want to keep our expensive government (military, soc sec, medicare/caid, corporate welfare) then we need REVENUE. Hello, McFly! How in God’s name do we get revenue, children? Repeat after me…”TAXES!”

Remember how we were uber prosperous in the 1950s AND we had our safety nets in place? Progressive taxation worked beautifully, and the rich were taxed more. Reagan lowered the taxes on the wealthy and guess what – that’s exactly when our debt /defecit problems began.

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
9:17 pm

KW: ” I don’t think the public will go for higher taxes just to close the annual budget deficit — not when we’d nearly balanced the budget in 2007 at the current tax rates.”
____________________________________________________

Trillion dollar deficits were projected the day Obama was inaugurated. State and local governments are having budget problems, not because they dramatically increased spending over the course of the last decade, but because the recession and corresponding unemployment/real estate crash/foreclosures sent government revenues into a nose dive.

Anybody who claims that we don’t have a revenue problem is relying on ideology and ignoring arithmetic and recent history. And anybody who claims we have a spending problem, but then supports the party that fights for corporate subsidies and increases in defense spending can’t be taken seriously.

We have both a revenue problem AND a spending problem. And the spending problem, again, arises mostly out of the outrageous cost of health care in this county.

tigeradman

April 13th, 2011
10:36 pm

Under President Clinton, we had record SURPLUSES. But then along came W, who cut taxes while at the same time, raising spending and funding two wars that he never accounted for in the budget. But, that didn’t mean the expenses for those two wars weren’t real and our country now finds itself with a hugh debt. That’s what happens when you slash income and radically increase spending at the same time. And oh yeah, to those who say the only way to have a prosperous economy is to lower taxes, tell me when your finances and investments were better… during the Clinton years or W days? For most Americans, it was likely the former and not the latter.

d

April 13th, 2011
11:24 pm

When both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet say that we should raise their taxes (and they have said this), maybe we should listen to them.

yuzeyurbrane

April 13th, 2011
11:58 pm

What principles? It’s just plain voodoo economics. Let’s balance our budget but not on the backs of the poor. What kind of country are we? Even balancing a family budget requires both belt-tightening and revenue increasing if possible. And you take into acct. putting some aside to put into those important things like your kid’s education. And maybe even a little to put into the church plate to help those even less fortunate.There has to be a flexibility and a kind of ebb and flow to make it work. We all know this. We do it all the time. So let’s stop calling each other names and get moving and that includes moving out politicians who cling to rigid ideologis.

Saint Joan

April 14th, 2011
1:15 am

If you have a Lamborghini for sale don’t expect a thousand minimum wage workers to chip in and buy it.

Michael H. Smith

April 14th, 2011
2:47 am

Trillion dollar deficits were projected the day Obama was inaugurated. State and local governments are having budget problems, not because they dramatically increased spending over the course of the last decade, but because the recession and corresponding unemployment/real estate crash/foreclosures sent government revenues into a nose dive.

I’m beginning to worry about brucie, Kyle. Bush and the Congress under him, even when it was Republican controlled spent like there was no end to our resources. Most conservatives realize that as a fact and we called them on it, including the acknowledgment that Bush was not a conservative because of it. Normally or when brucie is normal, as much normal is with brucie, he’d be blasting that old Bush for spending the country broke, two wars, tax cuts for the evil rich, corporate welfare etc but now, I don’t know… I think he is really in a bad way… must be having a spell or something.

Federal spending has been out of control for decades, from LBJ to the present day and obumer wants to out spend them all. Spending problems produce revenue problems Bruce. Spending problems produce recessions, unemployment, bankruptcies and yes, my friend, they even cause them old wars.

I think we’d agree Kyle on the principles but we both know getting those principles into practicalities is going to be nearly impossible. Even though they sound simply enough they will be hard to do: Flat tax of two or three tiers with no deductions and no subsidies of any type. But that will be a tax increase. Sorry folks, revenue neutral will be like getting something for nothing – it won’t happen.

Want to get rid of lobbyists? Again, simple answer rejected by everyone: Stop taxing corporations, stopping giving them subsides and all the lobbyist will disappear. Don’t worry, that too, will never happen.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 14th, 2011
6:39 am

Well drawn essay, Mr. Wingfield. WSJ has two similar and related essays today, Dan Henninger’s essay on tax and spend (”Who Do You Trust?”) and Donald Luskin’s portrait of Ayn Rand, which has some marvelous snarky language about Barney Frank and Angelo Mozilo (the Countrywide guy.)

Tyler Durden

April 14th, 2011
6:44 am

Actually, I don’t agree with Kyle’s principles here. The Bush tax cuts went too far to begin with and lowered revenues to an entirely unsustainable rate, then he and the Republican Congress cut spending on the programs their ideologues didn’t like. Now, many years later, the chickens are coming home to roost, the true effect of this ridiculous approach to governing is becoming apparent, and no one wants to acknowledge how shortsighted and unsustainable this approach has become. And why? Because the Tea Party has replaced the Neocons as the most unreasonable yet influential branch of the GOP, and their purist approach has no basis in reality (much like the Neocons’ approach to the War in Iraq had no basis in reality. What’s the reason du jour for invading nowadays?)

Spending hundreds of billions on a voluntary war + cutting taxes to an ill-advised level = recipe for exploding deficits. Simple math to anyone objective enough to think for themselves and own up to the real mistakes that got us here.

Oh, and as for the ‘tax cuts = job growth’ mantra: Bush lowered taxes for his entire 8 years in office. Did he experience major job growth? NO. He has the worst job growth of any two-term President EVER. Clinton added more jobs during EACH of his terms than Bush did in BOTH of his terms. And what did Clinton do? He raised taxes to a responsible, sustainable level.

Drink less GOP kool aid and you might see things more accurately… :-)

DeborahinAthens

April 14th, 2011
6:55 am

The mantra of the Republicans is that lower taxes create jobs, which is simply NOT TRUE! Go to the Department of Labor and look at how we started shedding jobs at a horrifying rate after Bush got his cuts through a Republican dominated house.And please don’t come back with all the excuses about why jobs disappeared under his watch. You don’t want the Dems to have excuses, then you lose the right to excuses. In the 2001-2004 period of Bush’s presidency the unemployement rate started climbing. In the 4-5 months leading up to Obama’s inauguration over 700,000 jobs PER MONTH on average fell off the grid. So show how that tax cut changey thing is workin’ for ya! Even though his own Treasury Secretary O’Neil told him that that small cut (aboujr 3% across all brackets) would cause a huge deficit. Bush fired O’Neil and did it anyway. The DOL statistics will show how many jobs were created during the Clinton years under the old pre-Bush-tax-cuts. Money was spent (ohmygod) by the government for research and development–not just in telecom but in biotechnology as well. These same type of dollars are one of the big targets of the Republicans. The Republicans say that if we tax those making over $250,000 a year, they won’t hire. What ignorance! If you are a business person (and I am) you will hire people that you need to produce your product. If there is no demand for your product you cut jobs until the demand picks up. They would have you believe that the “uncertainty” about tax rates will keep you from making your product! What a laugh! The world has been and always will be uncertain. What I think is really cute is that NO ONE ever mentions the fact that people like hedge fund managers (the top five of whom made tens of billions last year) don’t pay income taxes on their income–they pay the lower (10%) capital gain rate! And hedge fund managers DON’T create jobs!!! Unless you want to count the people that build their $13.2 million mansions. The Republicans screech that the Dems just want to “redistribute the wealth”. What nonsense! I am in the highest tax bracket and I want my old government back. I want good roads, I want my firefighters to get to my house in a timely manner should I need them. I want police protecting. I want the NIH to have funding so scientists with ideas can see them grow into drugs and procedures that make us healthier. Let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire. Most people won’t even notice the difference in their lives. I wouldn’t. And my bracket will go from 33% to 36% most likely. We have to stop listening to the Republicans. They have an agenda, and it has little to do with making their constituents’ lives better. Watch Eric Cantor when he smirks his way through an interview. I just can’t believe there are that many dumb people that still fall for the lies.

DeborahinAthens

April 14th, 2011
6:58 am

Before you all get your shorts in a wad, I meant to say I’m in ONE of the highest tax brackets. I know that the 33% isn’t the highest bracket. But at least I did my spellcheck!

Capital Idea

April 14th, 2011
7:29 am

Less government = lower taxes

The Republicans have discarded their basic platform.

The only jobs that politicians can create are more government jobs.

Are the business owners elwcted to the Legislature hiring at their businesses? The politicians need to create jobs using their own capital investments before they tax me and you.

Maybe Tommie can let me rake pine straw, Chip can let me clean motel rooms, Jack can hire me as a bank teller, and Cecil can let me run his blog. That would create jobs and increase payroll tax collections for the government.

Toby

April 14th, 2011
7:40 am

Nothing that 15 million jobe wouldn’t cure. What ever happened to the jobs bills?

DW

April 14th, 2011
8:12 am

Why are middle class “republicans” so adament about preserving tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires? How can you seriously buy into that bull$hit??

ForgetToIngore

April 14th, 2011
8:30 am

Kyle says “And the primary lesson from Georgia is that would-be reformers get off-track when they forget the principles that got them started in the first place.”
They got off track? What track did the little train switch to?
Forgot the principles? They didn’t forget, just ignored them.

Sorry

April 14th, 2011
8:34 am

Sorry Kyle. I must disagree with you on this one.

While your argument is well thought out, I honestly believe the majority of people who profess to prefer a flatter, fairer tax really want simply less tax. They simply want to pay less taxes period – under any plan. And therein lies the rub. The old adage “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that man behind the tree” applies once again.

Peter

April 14th, 2011
8:39 am

The question is the same as always regarding taxes: What would we get for what we pay? I don’t think the public will go for higher taxes just to close the annual budget deficit — not when we’d nearly balanced the budget in 2007 at the current tax rates.

WOW ….we did almost balance the budget Kyle………and how could that have been ? Because the cost of WAR was not in the budget ?

Come on now…..are you saying in 2007 we were at zero debt also ? You make allot of stuff up, but that statement is silly !

carlosgvv

April 14th, 2011
8:40 am

“lawmakers to reward narrow groups”

Rewarding their corporate sponsors is the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Every tax dollar they can add on to the taxes of the middle-class and poor is a dollar they can give to Big Business in the form of tax cuts and other perks.

DW

April 14th, 2011
8:50 am

Fair tax = bull$hit excuse for upper middle class and rich folks to NOT pay their share of taxes while placing the burden on “those people”

BW

April 14th, 2011
9:17 am

Kyle

Again interesting discussion….one can’t really purport to cut taxes while exempting certain sectors. This is one of the most maddening aspects of the health care reform law that was passed. Look…your philosophy of lower taxes increasing revenue just hasn’t been borne out especially not in this state. The endgame of this tax reform is to kill effective state government end of story. That’s fine on the political side because I don’t think that the Republicans are trying to hide that but at the same time they have to produce results from privatization. Right now these results are not being produced. We have major infrastructure challenges with regards to roads, sewers, and water…will the private sector pay to build and/or improve these things? Maybe but they will be reimbursed either through taxpayer money or usage fees with a profit built in. Will this be done in a less expensive manner than through the public sector? No one will know. From the history of privatization in this state I see it as one good ol boy helping out another without addressing the original problem. How much deeper can we cut into bone before we realize that not only that government can’t do an effective job but we cannot raise money to fund necessary improvements?

poison pen

April 14th, 2011
9:28 am

carlosgvv

April 14th, 2011
8:40 am
“lawmakers to reward narrow groups”

Rewarding their corporate sponsors is the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Every tax dollar they can add on to the taxes of the middle-class and poor is a dollar they can give to Big Business in the form of tax cuts and other perks.

Carlos, and who takes care of the unions and GE, Hmmmmm?

Will

April 14th, 2011
9:54 am

Tax Reform and HOPE are two excellent examples of lack of leadership in Georgia government, specifically, lack of vision.

Let’s start with HOPE. Legislators are applauding themselves over “saving HOPE”. Do you remember when HOPE was adopted (substitute “lottery” for “Sunday alcohol sales” and you have just about the same proponents and opponents – one of the opponents being a less than prominent democrat legislator from Bonaire – Sonny Perdue). HOPE legislation was adopted and was immediately wildly popular. So politicians immediately did what politicians do – take a popular program and expand (in this case remove the income cap) it so that even more voters will be happy. Through the gubernatorial terms of Miller, Barnes and Perdue – politicians did not want to think that one day people might not gamble as much, no political leader wanted to think that tuition increases would occur at the rate they did and no one thought that reducing what was spent on tutition and increasing what is given to the gamblers would be a problem. A politician would not think about these things because tinkering with this wildly popular program might cost a politican votes.

So along comes Governor Deal and this lack of vision and forethought by politicians creates a problem that his dropped in his lap. If politicians had acted less like politicians and more like visionary leaders, HOPE would not have had to be “saved”. This is one of the legacies of the Miller-Barnes-Perdue administrations (along with the General Assemblies of these administrations) – not a legacy to be proud of.

Much the same with tax reform but for different reason. You don’t start working on tax reform legislation during the General Assembly Session. You can’t reform the Georgia tax system and keep everyone happy at the same time. Only politicians (not leaders) think this can be done. This is a very complex, detailed subject that demands thoughtful, planned study based on verifiable data. Only a politician would think you can throw out a “reform” bill before you can answer the most basic, core question to be asked – will it cost the state loss revenue and what impact will it have on the average taxpayer. Why couldn’t a politician understand that these, and other, core questions had to be answered? Because politicians hoped that voters would only hear “tax reform” and assume that this meant cutting government spending and cutting taxes – buzz words for getting votes.

Issues like this and the politicians that have failed us serve to remind us that truly visonary leadership comes about only so often. If there is any good to come out of this, at least it reminds us and should make us more appreciative of the few truly visionary leaders there are (or have been) in elected government.

the red herring

April 14th, 2011
9:54 am

good article kyle. the original plan was a good one. once the democrats, lobbyists, teachers associations, etc all put in their two cents worth the plan morphed into something that really didn’t make much sense. the broad based sales tax worked for years and would work great now but people that aren’t paying any tax at all now simply scream at the top of their lungs to keep from paying any. now how’s that fair? 47% of this country pays no income tax yet you don’t hear them yelling “tax the freeloaders”—instead they yell “tax the rich”. 200k to 250k per year ain’t rich when somebody is working two jobs or 70 to 80 hours per week to make it. If you want to tax millionaires then tax people making a million or more per year but also put some tax on the people above the poverty level that currently aren’t paying taxes at all or in some cases getting more back than they pay. stop rewarding women having children by subsidizing them with our tax dollars.

DW

April 14th, 2011
10:01 am

“200k to 250k per year ain’t rich when somebody is working two jobs”

Thats $125k per job. The average wage in this county is still in the $30k area. So just ONE of your jobs is 416% more than an average worker makes in this country. I wont loose any sleep if you have to throw a few more bucks in the pot than everyone else. Sorry

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 14th, 2011
10:15 am

What they need to do is blow up the income tax system and start over. Make it a modified flat tax. That would allow several brackets, and allow it to stay progressive. Do away with all the breaks, deductions and credits; two people make “x” amount of dollars, they both pay the same “x” amount of taxes. Do away with earned and unearned income. Treat and tax all forms of income the same. Start out by making the change revenue neutral and go from there.

That’s what they need to do but it’ll never happen.

DW

April 14th, 2011
10:17 am

SO why buy a home if there is no deduction for property tax or mortgage interest? Sounds like this idea will lower home prices even more

Bleeding Independent

April 14th, 2011
10:19 am

@ Deborah In Athens…

Great comments indeed!!!

I think with all of the empirical data in, it’s abundantly clear that the “tax cut” mantra is pure idealogical BS. If tax cuts create so many jobs why dont we just make the tax rate 0% for all companies to cure our unemployment ills!!! We will be the first country to cut our way to prosperity

Tall

April 14th, 2011
10:21 am

” Bush lowered taxes for his entire 8 years in office. Did he experience major job growth? NO. He has the worst job growth of any two-term President EVER. Clinton added more jobs during EACH of his terms than Bush did in BOTH of his terms. And what did Clinton do? He raised taxes to a responsible, sustainable level.”

If you’re the same Tyler Durden that publishes Zero Hedge, you know better than to post nonsense like this.
When Clinton came into office his administration was projecting deficits in the range of 4% – 7%. He also proposed a stimulus that was defeated by the Republican congress at the time. Yes, the deficit did decline, but there was no surplus – the Social Security Trust fund was still tapped. Clinton and Gore did several things that expanded revenues. The first was refoming welfare, the second was passing NAFTA and the third was cutting defense spending.

Passing NAFTA did help expand GDP during the Clinton years. The Clinton administration was also the beneficiary of the telecommunication and internet boom. I used to trade corporate bonds during those years and still remember how easy it was for those companies to raise money. And no, Al Gore did not invent the internet. When GHB was in office, he cut the the capital gains rate which helped to advance the dramatic increase in trading volumes. This was initially resisted by the Democrats as “favoring the rich.”
Sound familiar? When the surge in tax revenues became too obvious, the arguement ceased.

When GWB took office in 2000, he inherited a declining economy that was affected by the overallocation of investment capital to the interent and telecommunication industries. Liquidity dried up as the equity markets contracted. The following year 9/11 occurred with the domestic economy taking at least a $100 billion hit. The fact that the unemployment rate peaked at 6% in 2003 is remarkable. You also had a surge in undocumented immigration at the time and they came to work.

Peter

April 14th, 2011
10:22 am

And the primary lesson from Georgia is that would-be reformers get off-track when they forget the principles that got them started in the first place.

Yes Kyle..Republican’s in a Republican dominated state can’t get anything done…… And one wonders why after 8 years of Bush the US has become a 3rd world nation via Bush’s time in office…hey Trump another Republican said that.

Seems all the taxpayers money was spent on Wars, and nothing really accomplished here at home.

Tall

April 14th, 2011
10:25 am

“When both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet say that we should raise their taxes (and they have said this), maybe we should listen to them.”

If they want to pay more money in taxes, they can cut a check to the government.

A True Progessive

April 14th, 2011
10:31 am

That’s right DW. We won’t “loose” any sleep because were broke dikks going nowhere.

That’s why we justify stealing from others. Afterall, it’s not You or I. It’s WE, like it or leave it. But you can’t leave.

Were low-lifes who can’t make our own way and easily fall for cultish leadership. Like all that Jesus and Obama stuff.

Lets go take those rich basssterds money cause it’s not fair since we have class envy and brain power deficiency. And if they don’t like it, well throw ‘em in jail. Che Guevara FTW. Yeahhhhh.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 14th, 2011
10:31 am

If they want to pay more money in taxes, they can cut a check to the government.

They can do so by sending a check here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

This will tell them how:

http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html

real john

April 14th, 2011
10:33 am

Tall:

Great points. Most libs (including US Senators and Congressman) just spew the same nonsense without any new facts. Republicans are just for rich oil companies, defense,etc…

Good to know some people actually do a little research

carlosgvv

April 14th, 2011
11:13 am

poison pen

It’s true the Democrats take care of the Unions. It’s also true that the Unions are mere paupers compared to Big Business. As for GE, they go both ways.

Real Athens

April 14th, 2011
11:22 am

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, Prius drivers and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of American 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses and paid no taxes?

Yeah, me either.

Jefferson

April 14th, 2011
12:04 pm

Flatter taxes screw the working man.

JF McNamara

April 14th, 2011
12:16 pm

Here’s the short version of Kyle’s article.

Georgia found out that the constituents don’t really want to cut their programs just those of others (which leads to the problem that everyone has their own backyard to protect). Plus legistators found out that lobbyist would be mad if their tax break got taken away.

The only way tax reform will work is if legislators forsake all lobbyist money and have no intention of ever getting elected to another office. Basically, it can’t happen.

get out much?

April 14th, 2011
12:34 pm

It is kind of interesting how the enthusiasm for spending cuts begins to fade as soon as people realize that spending cuts means service cuts. I guess there are not as many (mythical) welfare queens driving Cadillacs out there as we thought.

Viet Vet

April 14th, 2011
12:46 pm

Facts, Tall? Hardly, more like Tall tales. Here’s facts about the economy and surplus that Bush inherited and squandered, straight from Ayn Rand’s most ardent disciple.

Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan, Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, March 2, 2001. “Both the Bush Administration and the Congressional Budget Office project growing on-budget surpluses under current policy over the next decade.” “That said, the changes in the budget outlook over the past several years are truly remarkable.” And he finishes with “With today’s euphoria surrounding the surpluses, it is not difficult to imagine the hard-earned fiscal restraint developed in recent years rapidly dissipating. We need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past and the fiscal imbalances that followed in their wake.” Republicans, who controlled both Congress and White House, not only did not resist, they threw the golden opportunity that landed in their undeserving laps.

Google it, if you have the stomach. Republicans need to sent to timeout for at least a decade while the adults clean up their horrible mess.

Tall

April 14th, 2011
1:53 pm

Viet Vet: Re read my post. I’m well aware of the budget deficits accumulated under GWB’s administration. The Social Security Trust has been poached for years. Therefore there is no surplus.
The only was to tame the deficit is cut spending and simplify the tax laws in order to make taxes easier to collect.

I research my facts before I post. Most don’t.

markie mark

April 14th, 2011
2:38 pm

“Reagan lowered the taxes on the wealthy and guess what – that’s exactly when our debt /defecit problems began.”

@Steve – there was this little thing called “The Great Society” by LBJ…..have you forgotten about that? Not to mention this little conflict call the Vietnam War….when we quit sending billions to SE Asia, the economy started tanking…..and dont even get me started on the “misery index” in the Carter years…..mcfly, my butt.

Michael H. Smith

April 14th, 2011
4:16 pm

I’ve yet to see one liberal own up to the fact that spending – at least in their minds – is even a minute part of the deficit problem? Why are they so adamantly convinced that, one, government can never spend enough, two, government can never tax too much or three, government can never grow way beyond our means to support it; let alone, four, that the federal government can exceed its’ constitutional authority?

I hope every one of the folks that hold the above mentioned mindset take the time to read what Obama said about raising the debt ceiling when he was a Senator and voted against it: (He can’t walk this statement back no matter how hard he tries to call it a mistake)

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

http://geekpolitics.com/obama-on-raising-the-debt-ceiling/

Peter

April 14th, 2011
4:46 pm

Yes……Michael H. Smith.Spending of course is a problem……

Look at the cost of WAR, and tell me what we have gained from the wars ?

Peter

April 14th, 2011
4:52 pm

Please remember Georgia has been a Republican state run by Republican’s forever…..it is a microcosm of the rest of the country.

We can’t get it correct in Georgia, unless we are over paying for new public lands, paying for a new Fish farm, or getting screwed by special Taxes, Like GA 400, or the tax on tires, and environmental stuff, that never go to environmental stuff.

Bottom line …… Republican’s lie continuously, and have zero fiscal responsibility !

Please cutting taxes and getting us involved in two wars was fiscally responsible ?

Jefferson

April 14th, 2011
5:31 pm

Pres Reagan was the 1st of the big spenders (was a “D” in the 60’s) fooled all you GOP lovers.

Peter

April 14th, 2011
5:37 pm

Long Term Jobless are not finding work in Georgia…….

Gee GOP, I thought you knew what you were doing, besides running the state into the ground ?